ALL CRY CHAOS

Calling all fans of fractals, international-criminal conspiracies and the End of Days: Your ship has come in.

Is it just a coincidence that someone, acting with surgical precision, has bombed the Amsterdam hotel room of Harvard mathematician James Fenster, author of the paper “The Inevitability of a One-World Economy,” shortly after a suicide bomber of the self-anointed Soldiers of Rapture has blown up himself and five innocents in Milan and a much-loved gang counselor is shot to death in Barcelona, a Scriptural passage pinned to her corpse? Interpol Inspector Henri Poincaré, the namesake whose great-grandfather, mathematician and physicist, was one of the pioneers of relativity theory, thinks not. He’s convinced that the key to Fenster’s death lies in his work on fractals, patterns that repeat themselves from microscopic to planetary levels. But Poincaré’s investigation faces an astronomical number of obstacles. Two key persons of interest, Fenster’s ex-fiancée Madeleine Rainier and his star graduate student Dana Chambi, answer his questions evasively and then disappear. Imprisoned Bosnian war criminal Stipo Banovi, blaming Poincaré for his capture, hires assassins to eliminate his wife, son and grandchildren. Felix Robinson, the new Head of Interpol, demands that Poincaré retire from fieldwork immediately. And the Soldiers of Rapture, eerily prefiguring the summer and fall of 2011, announce that the world will end at 11:38 a.m. on August 15—a moment that provides a suitably dramatic backdrop for the otherwise muffled climax of Rosen’s hugely ambitious debut thriller. First in a proposed series, though it’s hard to imagine its sequels topping it for sheer chutzpah.

 

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-57962-222-0

Page Count: 332

Publisher: Permanent Press

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2011

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Falls short of Crichton’s many blockbusters, but fun reading nonetheless, especially for those interested in the early days...

DRAGON TEETH

In 1876, professor Edward Cope takes a group of students to the unforgiving American West to hunt for dinosaur fossils, and they make a tremendous discovery.

William Jason Tertullius Johnson, son of a shipbuilder and beneficiary of his father’s largess, isn’t doing very well at Yale when he makes a bet with his archrival (because every young man has one): accompany “the bone professor” Othniel Marsh to the West to dig for dinosaur fossils or pony up $1,000, but Marsh will only let Johnson join if he has a skill they can use. They need a photographer, so Johnson throws himself into the grueling task of learning photography, eventually becoming proficient. When Marsh and the team leave without him, he hitches a ride with another celebrated paleontologist, Marsh’s bitter rival, Edward Cope. Despite warnings about Indian activity, into the Judith badlands they go. It’s a harrowing trip: they weather everything from stampeding buffalo to back-breaking work, but it proves to be worth it after they discover the teeth of what looks to be a giant dinosaur, and it could be the discovery of the century if they can only get them back home safely. When the team gets separated while transporting the bones, Johnson finds himself in Deadwood and must find a way to get the bones home—and stay alive doing it. The manuscript for this novel was discovered in Crichton’s (Pirate Latitudes, 2009, etc.) archives by his wife, Sherri, and predates Jurassic Park (1990), but if readers are looking for the same experience, they may be disappointed: it’s strictly formulaic stuff. Famous folk like the Earp brothers make appearances, and Cope and Marsh, and the feud between them, were very real, although Johnson is the author’s own creation. Crichton takes a sympathetic view of American Indians and their plight, and his appreciation of the American West, and its harsh beauty, is obvious.

Falls short of Crichton’s many blockbusters, but fun reading nonetheless, especially for those interested in the early days of American paleontology.

Pub Date: May 23, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-247335-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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